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It is Well With My Soul…isn’t it?

May 5, 2017

Over the last few months, there has been a song that keeps showing up here and there in my life.  It’s a song that I like; a hymn really.  It is the hymn “It is Well with My Soul”.

I am not sure why this particular song keeps surfacing in different ways lately but every time I hear it I get that feeling in my stomach…that feeling that says, “Pay attention.  This is important”.  But it’s like driving on a foggy day.  I can’t quite see clearly enough to feel confident in my driving…or in my understanding.

The first appearance this lyrical intrusion made into my consciousness was in the song “Joy” by Page CXVI.  The song is actually a really thoughtful and interesting cover of the hymn “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart”.  It’s played in a minor key and the juxtaposition of the words of the song about joy and the funeral dirge like music really intrigues me.  It begins very quietly and build up to a really powerful part and then ends with a sample of the song “It is Well with My Soul”.  Latifah Phillips, who wrote this stirring arrangement, shared in her blog that she wrote it after learning of her father’s cancer diagnosis.  He had previously been diagnosed with dementia and said that he viewed the cancer diagnosis as a blessing.  To him, cancer was a better way to end his
story than a mind with no memory of his family or his life.  Despite Latifah’s profound sadness, she was able to rest in the peace and yes…joy that God provides.  She said, “It
was not until grief became a part of my story that I realized that joy is not simply an expression, but an attitude and acknowledgment of the deep peace of knowing a Savior.”

Maybe that is what draws my heart to this song.  Over the last several years, grief has become a part of my story as well.  Prior to 2013 I had not really experienced grief.  Sure, I’d lost a favorite pet and a few relatives had passed, but because we had not ever been close, it was not a devastating loss to me.  In March of 2013 I lost my little brother.  Not only did he pass away; he passed away tragically and in circumstances that could 100% been avoided.  I spent his last days with him and was holding his hand as he took his final breath.  Grief enveloped me in a way I had never experienced, nor imagined.  It rocked me.  It changed me to my core.

Yesterday, another song was shared with me and lo and behold, “It is Well with My Soul” is also sampled in it.  The song I heard for the first time yesterday is “Even If” by MercyMe.  While I don’t know the background of the song, the theme really speaks to me.  It talks about having only a little faith and how sometimes God leaves mountains unmovable.

When I was growing up the only thing I wanted to be was a mom.  I had no college plans. I desired no career.  I dreamed only of getting married and raising a family.  Now, when I set a goal I really go all out!  I married at 19, had two biological children and internationally adopted four others. Raising our family was a full time job and more.  In addition to meals and laundry and IEPs…prosthetic legs and therapy sessions….I also kept the daily books for our businesses.  It was crazy busy, but I thrive on crazy busy so it was all good.  I believed that because I had been obedient to follow what I heard God leading me to do that things would turn out well.  I was naive at best.

Perhaps I should clarify…things turning out well and things being easy are not the same thing.  Things can go according to God’s plan and still be hard…ugly….tragic…unbearable.  And you know what?  They have.  Losing my brother was all of those things.  Raising children who made life choices that are really difficult, as a parent, to watch falls into that category.  Lying awake at night with worry because you know your child is sleeping on the street and hungry is a level of grief I didn’t even fathom existed.  Knowing that your child may forever need assistance to stay on track and be successful is a huge weight to bear.  It has been weighing heavy on my heart and I find myself frustrated and at loose ends.  I liked it when my God-view meant that I would do what I’m supposed to with  oh, maybe 85% accuracy and God would then make the road smooth and easy.

Since I have been so vastly off the mark with my view of what a relationship with Christ really means, I’ve had to adjust my sails and lean into the wind.  If God isn’t the ‘magical giver of good things as long as I’m pulling my weight’ deity I’d mistakenly assumed, who is He?  Does his lack of intervening in my rocky road mean He doesn’t care?  Does it indicate that I’ve been disobedient and deserve a rough go of it?

No.  No it isn’t like that at all.  As the song “Even If” says,

“I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul”
Perhaps the reason “It is Well with My Soul” continues to drift into my life is in order for me to keep remembering that a relationship with my Savior is not tit for tat.  It isn’t that I do enough good and he will make life easy.  It is that I can never, ever be good enough to deserve the fact that he died for me…to make my eternity easy.  John 16:33 reminds us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Even when your baby brother dies.  Even when your child is sleeping by a dumpster on a cold winter night.  Even when your best effort at parenting woefully fell short of your expectations.  Even when your mountain is unmovable…God remains.  He is drawing us to Him.  He is waiting for the opportunity to wrap us in His mighty arms and show us that our performance and expectations are not what he seeks.  He overcame the world so that we may have peace.
When my eyes are on Him, it really is well with my soul.

 

My Crazy Life Uncategorized

Becoming One With Myself, Even if it Kills Me

February 21, 2016

This is my yoga goal

 

As I rapidly approach 50, I find myself to be stiff and creaky. I practice a couple seconds of Lamaze breathing when I stand from sitting. Oh sure, it’s attractive and all, but I want to change it.

I started walking last September and have enjoyed the benefits of that. I enjoy the time outdoors and I love to walk with Dexter, my Standard Poodle. I’m not setting any land speed records but I can at least walk THE HILL without crying. The hill is not exactly a mountain but there is some degree of mild elevation which almost killed me the first time we walked it. When my husband suggested we walk it again I froze with fear and actually yelled, “NO!” Since then, I have conquered it and walk it often. If I were to tell you where this slight rise in the earth’s surface is, you would laugh at me so just picture something slightly shorter than Mt. Everest and that will suffice.

When I was in my 20’s I was very active and did a lot of aerobics. Mmhmm…that’s right. It was the early 90’s. We were all leotards, headbands and leg warmers. Truly, a sight to behold. Thankfully, cell phones with cameras were still a distant dream and therefore no mirror selfies floating out on the interweb. But I was limber and didn’t creak when I walked. The only Lamaze breathing I did was in actual childbirth.

Fast forward a whole lot of years that contained lots of children with needs like daily meals and clean clothes and any time to focus on my own fitness went by the wayside.

Now that all but one of those birdies has flown the coop, I am determined to focus on regrouping. My focus is not only on the physical, but also on sharpening what is important in my life. Being more calm and quiet is topping my list. I’m sorry, was I the only one who heard my husband cheering when I said quiet???

To this end, I set my sights on yoga. I wanted to go to the local yoga studio and be calm and centered and flexible and strong. As is often the case, the idea is much different than the reality.

I roped my friend Elizabeth into attending a beginners class with me last week. Given that we are both chatty and, truth be told, enjoy our own humor way too much, we were mildly afraid we would not be able to be quiet. Yoga is quiet, right? Neither of us is good at quiet. So we went and got in the way back row in case we got the church giggles and couldn’t stop.

Class began and I was immediately too stiff to do whatever we were instructed to do. Being naturally competitive, I determined in my heart that minute that I WILL conquer Yoga. Elizabeth and I followed along pretty well. We didn’t look at each other, which helped. At one point when we were lying on our backs, I started to snicker because I could hear her chewing her gum. The curse of ADD is we attend to EVERY noise in the room. I made myself focus on something other than her gum chewing and the giggles passed.

Just as I was getting the hang of following along we struck a pose that may or may not have had something to do with lizards. There was some silliness about reaching back and taking hold of our opposite foot. Now, the reaching back was hindered by my back fat that bunched up and I couldn’t even find my foot regardless of how much I swung my arm back and forth. My resolve to master all things yoga intensified.

We used our straps to hold our foot out in front and then to the sides. While the instructor used her hand to hold her foot out with nary a wobble, Elizabeth and I toppled like bowling pins. I was awed by the grace and calm strength the instructor displayed. I want that!

Towards the end we sat on our bolsters with our legs criss-cross-applesauced…except we stacked our legs. Well others did. My legs were all, “No way, Hosea. Remember that back surgery you had a few years ago and then were too afraid to bend or stretch afterwards because you were scared you would goof up something? Well that means that we, your very own hips, are now locked in the standing position. Sorry.”

I silently cursed my stiff hips and lower back and again, determined in my heart, that I would conquer yoga.

At the end of class as we lay on the floor in what I can only assume is supposed to be a relaxing pose, the instructor came around and massaged our necks with lovely peppermint smelling hands. I’d go back for that alone.

I now have a new goal. I am going to show these stiff hips and back just who is boss. I am going to become one with myself…my limber, strong and calm self.

dead man's pose

Current level mastered

Lies I Have Believed

It’s Easier When Your Kids Are Grown

February 5, 2016

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This is the first installment in a series entitled, “Lies I Have Believed”

Having six children is…well..busy.  By the time they are in grade school they have more social engagements than I have had my entire almost 50 years of life.  They play multiple sports and are in plays and choirs and have play dates galore.  Because I am, in fact, one mean mother, I limited my kids to 2 sports per year.  There would be no way humanly possible to get everyone everywhere with everything they need otherwise.  I’m only one person here, ya know?  Of course I have a husband.  I have a husband who owns 2 service businesses and works roughly 40 million hours a week.  He has to because we purchased some of our children abroad and some of them have unique needs (say for instance…a prosthetic leg) and being self employed we get to pay astronomical insurance rates even when they deny an adopted child for pre-existing conditions.  It is what it is and I’m not complaining (today) about it, rather just warding off any comments about why he doesn’t do his part of child-shuttling.  He does the entire ‘income-earning’ so I’ve got no complaints.

I remarked to the youngest a couple of days ago that snow storms are so much easier when you don’t have a bunch of little people.  Because, even though he is almost 16, he is the littlest of the little people we have, he didn’t quite understand why it was easier now.  I explained how once the flakes begin falling, everyone wants to go outside and PLAY IN THE SNOW.  Noses are pressed to foggy windows and nobody can eat their lunch because…SNOW!  When there is finally enough snow to make tracks in, I would begin the process of putting on all the ‘gear’.  Snowpants, heavy coats, hats, gloves, scarves, boots.  Boots are the worst if you have a prosthetic foot. (it dawns on me just now that I really didn’t HAVE to put a boot on that foot, did I?)  Everyone piles out of the house and into the winter wonderland to enjoy the beauty of it all.  Then, 6.8 seconds later they are all cold and wet and ready to come in.  Then came the piles of wet discarded outerwear and drippy boots in the foyer.  And guess what?  THEN they were hungry…STARVING, even.

Now when it snows, I just call them and tell them not to drive and if they must, BE CAREFUL!

If only it were that easy.  It’s never that easy.  Sure it was a bunch of work and laundry back then, but now I have no control over any of it!  Oldest daughter lives in a small (ready TINY…almost non-existent) town North of us and they had so much snow in their alley they couldn’t get out of their garage.  The ‘city’ (and I use that term so loosely) has yet to plow it.  Thankfully, a neighbor helped them dig out.  I guess the good thing about such small towns is there is always a tractor nearby.  But it is rough on this mom’s heart knowing in order for her daughter to get to work, she has to drive snowy rural highways and WHO KNOWS WHAT CAN HAPPEN!

In the midst of that, youngest daughter, is at college in the opposite direction and is sick.  Well, she is sick and she slipped on the ice and hurt her knee.  That is particularly concerning since it is the only knee she’s got.  She texted and asked if I thought it would be ok if she went to the nurse to see if they had a wheelchair she could use.  Well of course that is alright!  What does she think?  Walk it off?  She got the wheelchair and that helped until the janitor asked if he could put it downstairs and out of the way.  She had parked it by her dorm room door because it didn’t fit IN the dorm room.  Then someone stole it.  Now she feels badly that she lost the wheelchair!  She is sick, her knee hurts, she has State Cheer competition in a week and she lost the college’s wheelchair.  Oh, and she has no snow boots.  She has never wanted snow boots so we didn’t get any for college.  Apparently, college is different and she needs boots.  Tomorrow I will take her boots and cold medicine and soup.  I don’t know what to do about the wheelchair.

While those dramas are unfolding, middle son needs rides to work.  He currently resides with a friend but has no mode of transportation.  We take him to work and pick him up.  It seems for any extracurricular activities he has no problem getting rides.  One day he told me he walked to a local fast food joint to use the wi-fi.  My head got a little swimmy.  This restaurant is within spitting distance of his place of employment.  If he can walk to one for his own enjoyment, why am I taxiing him to work?  Don’t ask.  Just don’t ask.

Last week my father had a slight issue with cellulitis on his leg which led to a couple of falls, some disorientation and a whole lot of refusing to go to the ER.  Long story short, he did get to the ER, was admitted, received IV antibiotics and was discharged with oral antibiotics last Friday.  Since I am his favorite daughter (or only daughter who lives in town..or the state for that matter….see it however you choose), I went with them to the doctor and hospital.  For perspective we went North 45 miles to doctor…then 110 miles to hospital in another city…then 90 miles back to my home.  Since we were not prepared for an overnight stay, I gathered up clothes and what-not and took them back the next day to the folks.  Since I came home the first night with their car, I went back to pick them up when he was discharged.  The weekend and beginning of the week went pretty well.  He is a stickler for taking meds properly and was elevating the leg.  We experienced #Snopocalypse2016 Tuesday and Wednesday and on Thursday I went to  my hair appointment.  In the middle of my appointment Mom texts and says Dad needs to go back to hospital.  (he goes to the VA which is 90 miles away)  I say to give me an hour and I will be there.  In that hour, the purple I was putting in my hair turned to blue unexpectedly and rather than fix it, I now have blue streaks.  It’s all good…it’s just hair…and it is amusing to see people’s reaction.  (see how I am ignoring the fact that purple would have been cool but blue is different?  I know you are thinking, “why were you putting purple in your hair in the first place?”  Because I wanted to, that’s why.  Don’t judge me.)  After an hour, we are trekking back to the hospital where we joke with staff about just being there and we must be on the same ‘rotation’.  He is back on the IV antibiotics and was slated to see the the ‘wound nurse’ today.  That just sounds like it is going to be painful.  We will go see him tomorrow so we can combine that trip with the meds, soup, boots drop off to the college girl.

In the meantime, the youngest boy is at school 45 miles away.  He attends a private school and lives in the dorms during the 4 days he has school.  Tuesday and Wednesday were snow days so I delivered him to school Wednesday afternoon after driving on the highway where travel was “not recommended”.  Then they cancelled school for Thursday as well.  He has had one day of school this week and I will go back to get him this afternoon.  I believe the roads are much more clear now so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Wait a minute.  Why did I think snowy days were hard when they were all little and would be so much easier when they were grown?  It’s not easier.  It’s  not easier at all.  It was a lie.  And I believed it.

 

My Crazy Life

Snopocalypse 2016: Will We Survive?

February 2, 2016
Front of the house

Front of the house

The snow storm that has been reported for the last week has finally arrived. It was a smidgen tardy in it’s arrival which led to many a snarky comment on Facebook. People were all complain-y (it’s a word, let it go) about how they took off work and at 5 a.m. there was hardly any snow. These are the same folks who will be all complain-y when we have 3 feet of snow and they have to shovel it all.

Back of the house

Back of the house

I have been awake since a little after 5:00 this morning and have been watching the progress of the snow. Personally, I’m all for a big ole blizzard that shuts down the whole town. I’m not so much for our police, medical personnel, linemen, etc who MUST be out in it. I pray for their safety.

The husband has scooped a path for the dogs to exit the deck and is currently gone to shuttle one of our kids to his job. Not sure why any restaurant is open today, but if they are going to pay him to show up, he is gonna show up….even if my husband has to risk life and limb to get him there.

The dogs need a path off the deck

The dogs need a path off the deck

Of course, in my husband’s mind, there is no actual risking of life and limb. It’s “no problem” and “not that bad”. Now, if I wanted to go somewhere it would be “too dangerous” and “you’ve got to be crazy!” Let’s all say it together: double standard. He has a blade on his truck and is therefore, invincible. He will be clearing driveways with reckless abandon. Superman ain’t got nothing on him.

So, back to the complain-y people. Why? Why??? We live in Nebraska. Nebraska has snow and often snow storms during the winter months. If you do not want to endure long winters, complete with storms, why do you live in Nebraska? Ok, to be fair, I don’t enjoy long winters in Nebraska but at least I’m not surprised that it’s happening! As I told my youngest the other day when he was all mad about a choice he had made that did not net great results; it’s like putting on red pants in the morning and then being surly and…yes, complain-y about wearing red pants all day! Do you see the people on the Gulf Coast surprised and angry when a hurricane hits? Nevermind, I’m sure that happens.

Since I cannot control the weather, (heck, I can’t even control my mouth) I’m going to just hunker down and cook up some hearty fare for the menfolk. Homemade Mac & Cheese is on the menu. That ought to stick to the ribs of those snow moving machines. It will also stick to my belly and thighs, but what am I to do? Diets don’t count on snowdays.

I am also going to light a candle and hope that covers the smell of wet

Bacchus regrets his short legs

Bacchus regrets his short legs

dogs. Dexter was like an excited Snuffaluffagus out in the snow; all bouncing and jumping as if he is a Teacup Yorkie. He and Millie play-fight outside (she starts it and always loses…she needs a support group) and I had to finally call him off so he would quit tackling her while she was trying to go potty. He ran up and sat on the top step of the deck like a pee-wee footballer waiting for the coach to put him in. He is SUCH a little boy.

Millie high-steppin' it in the snow

Millie high-steppin’ it in the snow

Rick has returned with reports of small cars spun out everywhere and a complete white-out across from the airport.  He estimates 6-8 inches has fallen thus far.  Since I can barely see the neighbor’s HUGE evergreen tree, I can report that the storm is not letting up just yet. It’s ok. Really it is. It’s Nebraska. It’s winter. I have Homemade Mac & Cheese. It’s all good.  We will survive Snopocalypse 2016.

 

My Crazy Life

Hello world!

February 1, 2016

Hello World, indeed!

Here we are in 2016 and I have a couple of goals this year.  I am seeking to have more peace in my life and to focus on the good and positive things each day.  This blog is my first step in that journey.

Hopefully, here you will find some thought-provoking insights, cool photos, a recipe or two, interesting information regarding some of the medical stuff we deal with with older international adoptees and hopefully something along the way will tickle your funny bone.

I’m a big fan travel.  I am not a big fan of living in the same small town for the last 30+ years but since I am a big fan of my husband, here I have stayed.  Thankfully, he lets me wander off now and then.  I appreciate that.  He has, however, placed a strict moratorium on bringing home any new children that don’t have parents to return them to.

I am a big fan of my 6 kiddos.  They used to be little.  A couple of them were even tiny when I first met them.  But now they are all big and mostly grown and some married and some planning to get married and ONE MORE to get through high school.  Some of our kids are homemade and some are imported.  We like to shake things up around here.

I am a big fan of my dogs.  I have two standard poodles; Dexter and Millie. Both are rescues and I love them more than words can say.  They do not talk back to me, lie about cleaning their bathrooms or leave dirty socks shoved between the cushions of my couch.  Of course they track mud in from the yard, but hey, so did the kids.  Oh yeah, we also have an American Toy Terrier named Bacchus.  He is passive aggressive and sheds.  Ugh…I still love him.

I am a big fan of cooking…sometimes.  I used to have to cook 300000000000 meals a day when all the kids were home.  Now I cook less (perhaps less than my husband would like..).  When the kids come home, I cook.  When they are not home, I take a minimalist approach.  I will share some recipes and photos and possibly even a review now and then.

I hope you will bookmark this site or sign up for email notifications when a new post is published.  Feel free to leave me (nice) comments and thanks for visiting!

 

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